Got a thirst to make it big in the world of entertainment? Want to leave the 9-5 behind and break out on your own? We’ve got some advice for you to make it in a competitive business, with tips from rising grime sensation Aitch and photographer Jake Millers.
You can start small
For Aitch, success came via YouTube thanks to his freestyle track “Straight Rhymez”. It was shot on a minimal budget in a single location next to a pair of parked cars, yet the talented rapper’s talent shone through.
The takeaway? Digital media has lowered the barrier to entry and democratised the landscape, and because so much content is consumed on mobile phones, you can get away with lower production costs.
Be smart with your time
From relative obscurity in 2018 to the 2020 Brits, Aitch has come a long way in a short space of time.
But before he made it big, he would rehearse his songs at home and only book studio time once he was satisfied.
By putting in the work first, he only needed an hour in the recording booth to get the result he wanted, allowing him to save a huge amount of money in the process.
Master your craft
Talent is one thing – hard work is the real difference-maker. There’s no such thing as an artist who has enjoyed overnight success. Both Aitch and Jake have spent years mastering their crafts, the latter receiving a camera aged 13 and shooting relentlessly.
Develop a style
Whatever your chosen craft, develop a style, something that photographer Jake believes comes with practice. The more you work at your artform, the more you’ll develop a signature thread through your work.
Jake’s preference? Human subjects positioned in gritty, urban environments. Often those subjects are rap and grime stars – something of a trademark.
One last thing: don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Often less is more.
The entertainment industry is awash with copycats, and the surest way to stand out is to embrace your natural personality. This has served Aitch well. “I’m just me as a person – I don’t separate my artistry from my personality. If you’re worrying about staying real, you’re thinking about it too much.”
Leverage social media
Photographer Jake Millers, who recently shot Aitch for the launch of the iPhone 11 Pro, owes his success to a growing community of followers online.
“Without the internet, I’m not sure I would have ever gotten the opportunities I did. It’s even more important now than it was back then – it’s crucial that new and upcoming [artists] use the internet to their full advantage.”
Give people a peak behind the curtain
If you want to build a brand, you need to be comfortable with the idea of sharing your life to the world. Aitch is a master of giving fans an insight into his day-to-day life. To date, he has amassed 1.6 million followers on Instagram alone, in part because his infectious personality shines through.
Networking is an incredibly important part of the brand-building process, and you should approach it with the same fervour as you do your craft. The entertainment industry is small, tight-knit and gossipy. While you might not enjoy social events, it’s a necessary part of the game.